12 teams entered, four headed into Sunday and now the NFL is down to two teams. And, wouldn’t you know it, one of those two teams is none other than the New England Patriots.
The Patriots are heading to their eighth Super Bowl in the Tom Brady/Bill Belichick era, where they are five for seven in the big game so far. Opposing them will be the Philadelphia Eagles; a team that spoiled dreams of Minnesotans everywhere with a dominating win on Sunday.
February 4 will be the second time the Patriots and Eagles have squared off in the big game. In fact, this amount of similarities in this Super Bowl is flat-out strange, so buckle up and hear me out.
On the way to Super Bowl XXXIX in 2005, Donovan McNabb’s Eagles defeated Minnesota in the divisional round (27-14) and Atlanta in the NFC Championship (27-10) before meeting Brady and the Patriots in the big one, which New England won on a last second field goal (24-21).
Fast-forward 13 years. Nick Foles’s Eagles just defeated Atlanta in the divisional round (15-10) and Minnesota in the NFC Championship (38-7) and will once again meet Brady and the Patriots for the Lombardi Trophy.
If that isn’t enough to boost the confidence of New England fans (as if they need it), there’s some more history on the Patriots’ side. The legacy of the Patriots is more or less broken down into a two-part dynasty, from 2001-2005 and 2014-present (with two Super Bowl losses in the middle that no one talks about because it never happened.) So, let’s go down the rabbit hole again.
In the 2001-02 season, the Patriots began their run of championships by beating the NFC West’s Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI by a score of 20-17. New England failed to make the Super Bowl in the next season, but returned a year later to defeat the Carolina Panthers of the NFC South by a score of 32-29. The Patriots made it back-to-back Super Bowls and their third in four years the following season by defeating none other than the NFC East’s Philadelphia Eagles 24-21.
Are you starting to get an idea of where I’m going with this? Good. We’re going there anyways.
Part two of the dynasty started in the 2014-15 season with Super Bowl XLIX. New England picked off Russell Wilson at the goal line to defeat the NFC West’s Seattle Seahawks 28-24. Once again, New England failed to make the Super Bowl the following season. And once again, found themselves back in the big game a year later. We all know what happened with 28-3, and the Patriots stormed back to win Super Bowl LI against the Atlanta Falcons of the NFC South. Now here we are again, the Patriots are aiming for back-to-back titles and their third in four years, against the NFC East’s Philadelphia Eagles…it’s almost scripted.
One more fun fact: the Patriots are playing their third bird of prey team in this decade’s Super Bowl run. They’ve already had Seahawk and Falcon, and if history holds up they’ll be Eagle hunting in two weeks’ time.